With the aim on continuing to fight for their cause of world peace, friendship and building capacities, 29 trainees were sworn in as the 32nd group of Peace Corps volunteers (GUY32) to serve the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.
The 29 volunteers will now be serving Guyana in different capacities for the next two years.
At the auspicious event which was hosted by United States Ambassador to Guyana, Mrs. Sarah-Ann Lynch, government officials and special invitees came out to support and congratulate the new group.
The volunteers, who all hail from the United States of America, had to undergo ten weeks of training in the county of Essequibo. There, they took part in intense sessions on technical theory, the creole dialect of the country, Guyanese culture, and practical training on model school programmes, all while living with a local host family.
Ten of the GUY32 members will go off to work in education, ten in environment and nine within the health sector. They will be posted to Guyana’s ten administrative regions, with 40% of them serving in some of the neediest indigenous communities.
Ambassador Lynch expressed during her speech to the gathering, “Today we celebrate you, the 32nd group, as volunteers in the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. Your diversity brings in fresh ideas, strengthens tolerance within the group and in your new communities, and empowers each of you to share more of yourselves, explore more, and fully embrace the Guyanese culture.
The Peace Corps’ special ingredient in Guyana and globally is a people-to people- approach to learning, reinforcing, and building capacity at the community level. And 53 years later, volunteers are still serving the people of Guyana, having lived and worked in all ten regions of this beautiful country”.
The diverse group ranges in age from 21 to 50, and hails from small rural towns in the USA such as Silverton, Colorado, with only a population of 400, to the megacities of New York, Chicago and Boston. Some of them are park rangers – there is also a camp counselor, a veterinary assistant, and a special education teacher.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Karen Gordon-Campbell, who spoke on behalf of Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence, said, “I have had the privilege to develop relationships with the cohorts on their arrival. Last year, we renewed our partnership with the signing of a MOU to help in addressing the important gap in the health of our Guyanese youth.
Our volunteers have been dynamic – forming health clubs, strengthening existing ones in the secondary schools. For the health sector, the GUY32 volunteers would be involved in activities such as community satellite tables, school outreaches, interactive information sessions at the heath facilities and health centre open days.”
GUY32 volunteer Katherine Nace took some time to give her remarks on her thoughts on her journey to becoming a new Peace Corps Volunteer.
“Ten weeks ago, we first started this adventure in Philadelphia, coming from unique backgrounds, all with the same mission in mind – to answer to the call of service. Our first week at Lake Mainstay Resort was a crucial part to our growth, as we had our first language session. We all quickly started bonding with our government-given family, as we were slowly introduced into the culture of our new home.
Well, it turned out that the host family would not only be the water growth for us, but also our sunshine. We are eager to work with the people of Guyana and be part of the communities around us. Thank you in advance for all of your support that we will see during these next two years.”
Peach Corps Guyana has contributed to the Peace Corps vision of world peace and friendship since 1966, with to date close 1,400 volunteers who have served, lived and worked alongside the Guyanese, sharing their aspirations, helping them to address their challenges and celebrating their achievements. Over the last 57 years, more than 230,000 volunteers have served in 141 countries.
Among special invitees at yesterday’s occasion was First Lady Sandra Granger, Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Valerie Garrido- Lowe, Minister of State, Dawn Hastings-Williams, Minister of Education, Dr. Nicolette Henry and Peace Corps Country Director, Kury Cobham.
The swearing in ceremony was held at the US Ambassador’s Cummings Lodge residence. The volunteers are said to commence their services next month.
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